Sunday, June 30, 2013

Troll Hunter (Part 4)

This ends my Troll Hunter "sort-of-serial".  Links to the first two parts can be found on Part 3, here.

     Blood streamed down Lady Edlewine’s arm from her blade.  The troll towering over her teetered and fell, the back of each leg destabilized.  Edlewine smiled, the brief curl of her pale lips just reaching her equally pale blue eyes.  Baron Raymond cheered.
     “Prince Luther, would you like the honors?” Edlewine asked.  The Prince set his horse to a trot, spinning an elaborate rapier at his side.  He plunged it deep into the troll’s ribcage.
     A few of the other trolls stopped to look at their new opponents.  Drool dripped down from their chins.  One tossed his hunk of stone in Edlewine’s direction.  She nudged her horse to shift out of the way right on time.  Now that we’ve lost the element of surprise…It gets interesting, she thought.
     “New plan,” said Edlewine.  “If we can get them to throw their rocks at us, it shall give Gretmot’s archers a chance to drop more of them.”
     Prince Luther’s eyes widened.  “So we’re playing bait?”  He swallowed.
     Edlewine steered her horse away from the fortress, facing uphill.  The mare increased speed without a need for her mistress’ urging.  A thud several paces behind her signaled another close call.  Aramel, don’t fail me now.
     Another troll perished near to the fortress, the fletching of dozens of arrows visible from hundreds of meters.  A battle cry rang out from its killers.
     Edlewine’s party avoided a full volley of stones.  Prince Henry cried out, “the beasts nearly hit me that time.”  Edlewine hid a grin.
     “Prince, keep your men up here taunting the trolls.  I’m taking the Baron with me to slay their ogre friend,” she said.
     The Baron shivered.  “Why are you taking me with you?”
     “I don’t trust you out of my sight.”  Edlewine kicked her mare to a gallop.
     “Coming, milady,” the Baron murmured.  He groaned.
     “Ogres are tougher to kill than trolls.  We’ll need to completely cut off its mobility before we can lay the final blow.  Achilles, hamstrings, ankles, all need sliced up if we are to get him on the ground.”
     The Baron folded his hands, shutting his eyes for a moment.  “Ready, so much as I shall ever be.”
     Edlewine jerked her mare in a zigzag, avoiding more and more rocks as they approached their target.  She told the Baron to do the same.  He took the advice.
     The ogre looked over at the pair of them no more than a dozen strides from its gnarled feet.  It kicked at them, but failed to achieve even a glancing blow.  Edlewine whipped up her sword, slashing its heel, then digging into its ankle.  It withdrew the limb, settling for a piece of the hillside jutting out from the turf to deal with them.
     “Now is our chance,” Edlewine shouted.  She rode behind one of the ogre’s legs as it bent down.  With the Baron on the opposite side, each set to tearing as many tendons as possible.  The ogre grunted with every wound.  Nothing kept it from tumbling backward.
     “We’ve slayed an ogre,” said the Baron, his eyes bulging.
     Edlewine huffed.  She sheathed her sword.  “Not just yet.  Its heart still beats.”
     The Baron nodded.  He glanced toward the heavens, bid thanks to God, and rushed to end it all.
     Prince Luther’s knights descended on the surviving trolls, scattered them.  The Prince raised his banner and beamed.  “An ogre hunter too, it seems, Lady Edlewine.”
     Edlewine laughed.  “Today.”

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